Protecting natural and built heritage
The presence of natural and built heritage is not necessarily a constraint to aggregate production, but is likely to mean that additional measures will be required to protect the heritage features. The government’s Policy Planning Guidance Note 15 (PPG15), and similar guidance issued in Wales by Circular 61/96, covers the protection of historic environment, including buildings, historic parks, gardens, and landscapes.
Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Listed Buildings have additional legal protection, and disturbance is not permitted without consent from the Secretary of State, acting on advice from the English Heritage or Cadw in Wales. While World Heritage Sites and Historic Parks and Gardens bring no statutory controls, central government requires local authorities to protect them through their policies and resource allocation.
To help protect the physical, visual or amenity value of historic buildings, monuments and landscapes (like ancient topographical features or boundary markers), the natural and built heritage will need to be taken into account when considering: transport and public access; traffic volumes; primary and ancillary operation positioning; and final landform creation during site restoration. Where blasting or dewatering is proposed, the effects on historic buildings, monuments and archaeology should be evaluated as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The government’s Policy Planning Guidance Note 16 (PPG16) and similar guidance issued in Wales by Circular 60/96, define a national policy on handling archaeological remains within the development control process. PPG16 indicates that; 'consideration is to be given early, before formal planning applications are made, to the question of whether archaeological remains exist where development is planned'.
Procedures for determining the presence of archaeology at a proposed site usually involve a combination of investigative desk study and fieldwork evaluations to identify the archaeological interest at a site, often carried out as part of an EIA. Where archaeological remains or sites of historic interest are identified the choice and selection of mitigation measures will depend on the importance of the archaeology involved.
PPG16 recognises that 'it is not always feasible to save all archaeological remains', but states, 'a presumption in favour of physical preservation of scheduled or unscheduled nationally important sites, where they, or their settings, may be affected'. PPG16 presumes ‘preservation in situ’, but if the site is not of national importance, its physical loss can be mitigated in many cases by ‘preservation by record’.
Preservation by record involves prior archaeological excavation of the extraction area in consultation with the county curatorial archaeologist, and contingent resources for such works should be budgeted for at the outset. If the archaeology falls within a discrete area of the site this area can be temporarily fenced off from the mineral extraction process while the archaeological investigations and excavations are completed.
If the archaeological remains are dispersed across the site, arrangement for rapid archaeological salvage investigation will have to be put in place. The case study below outlines how this process was managed for a quarry operation in Cumbria. In non-extraction areas, the site of haul routes and waste tips should take account of the need to avoid subsurface compaction of ground above known archaeological remains.
. . . more